Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A hike in Hong Kong's second largest country park (photo-essay)

For many people, the words "hike" and "Hong Kong" tend to conjure up images and thoughts of hiking either on Lantau Island or in Sai Kung. This is understandable on account of there being many trails through often quite breathtakingly splendid countryside in those two parts of the Big Lychee.

At the same time, Hong Kong does have many other country parks besides the four that, taken together, cover large swathes of Lantau and Sai Kung. And contrary to what many people tend to assume, the second largest of Hong Kong's 24 country parks actually is not a Lantau or Sai Kung one but, instead, Tai Lam Country Park out in the western New Territories.

As it so happens, I was introduced to Tai Lam Country Park on what was only my third hike after moving to Asia's World City back in 2007. Since then, I've been back a number of times -- the most recent being four Sundays ago -- and have to say that each hike in that area has yielded its own rewards -- be it in cool insect sightings, scenic vistas, interesting traces of an older way of life or some other noteworthy sights that help make the hiking experience be a memorable one...

This hike to Tai Tong started after my regular hiking companion
and I got off the bus at Hong Kong's highest bus stop --
i.e., the one along Route Twisk marked "Country Park"
 Intricate, dense webs spun by spiders that I've subsequently
discovered live in holes and are no where as large as
As this view of Tai Mo Shan shows (including
with just a week previously),
it was a
pretty clear day that day :)

This shady all-paved path hike may be shunned as
"too civilized"
and easy by some people but I reckon
that its 12 kilometer
length shouldn't be sniffed at

One Sunday after passing by the abandoned school
at Lin Fa Shan, we came across the site of
the now
also abandoned Tin Fu Tsuen School

I wonder when learning last took place in this space
that now is slowly but surely being reclaimed by nature?

 Alternatively, the nearby Outdoor Adventurous Training Centre
that caters to
war gamers sounded as well as looked like
one Tin Fu Tsai area establishment that
was still thriving

The rest area at the Kat Hing Bridge end of Tai Lam
Chung Reservoir makes for a nice place to pause
and idle a bit at midway through a hike

To be continued after a pause... :)


ulaca said...

Now you're superfit from all your walking and while the weather's cool, you should do the walk from Shek Pik to Lantau Peak. After nearly a quarter of a century walking in HK, this is still my favourite walk.

eliza bennet said...

This hike seems very good indeed! I'd like to do that if/when I visit Hong Kong again.

YTSL said...

Hi Ulaca --

I'm fitter than I was but still not super fit, so think Lantau Peak would still be beyond me, alas! The problem for me, I hear, re Lantau Peak is the large steps up. My right knee has never completely recovered from its ligaments being torn by a direct kick to it by a rival (University of Chicago) soccer player, so doesn't have as much "spring" to it as I would like. :S

Still, thanks for the hike/walk recommendation. Appreciate it. :)

Hi "eliza bennet" --

It's a nice hike alright -- hope you'll come back and have a look at part II of my photo-essay of it next week. :)

ulaca said...

The joy of the ascent from Shek Pik reservoir is that there are no steps apart from the last bit when it joins the Lantau Trail. The rest is on a real path. Nice spiders in the summer too - I know how fond you are of them, Yvonne ...

A Merry Christmas to you and all your readers!

YTSL said...

Hi again ulaca --

Thanks for the added info and Merry Christmas wishes. Hope you have a good holiday season too. And teehee re your spiders comments -- they *are* so photogenic, I find! :)